An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Dealing With Nightmarish Clients
Clients are a wonderful thing. They say nice things about you and, more importantly, put money in your pocket.
Sometimes though, they’re not so wonderful. In fact, dealing with a client can sometimes be an incredibly aggravating experience. You may end up losing time and money, or even put the future of your business in jeopardy if you aren’t equipped to deal with the situation.
Here’s a handy guide to dealing with these tough clients like a pro.
Phase I – Knowing what you’re up against
If you are going to efficiently deal with a large number of clients, you must quickly identify red flags and have strategies in place to deal with a variety of tough clients, such as:
· Constant complainers – These clients will generally find a way to strike up some disagreement with you over issues real or imagined, and they’re really good at doing it.
· Impossible expectations – These clients are never happy with the quality of your work, and will remind you that you could do a better job.
· Needy customers – These clients will constantly contact you to discuss something or another. They will constantly email or ask for your time over the phone, and refuse to pay extra for it.
· The stingy folk – These clients are always bargaining and hunting for deals. Any price you quote to these people is too expensive.
Phase II – Dealing with clients efficiently
In general, it is a good idea to let overly troublesome clients go instead of trying to make things work. However, the trick is to let someone go gently, like a professional.
· Fire them
Unless you are violating a legal agreement, you are completely within your rights to fire a troublesome client. Once you’ve provided them enough notice, you can let them go politely without detailing your reasons. You should also refer them to businesses that will be a better fit for them, if possible.
· Lay out your boundaries clearly
You should have a company policy that outlines, in detail, all the things that you do not want to happen in a potential relationship with a client. You can mention details about your prices, scope of work, delivery time etc. Once you have a policy that works for you, refer potential clients to it before you proceed with negotiations. If the prospect agrees with every element of your policy, you can move things forward.
· Price them out
One of the easiest and most time-tested ways to get rid of troublesome clients is to raise your prices. Just watch what happens when you send these clients an email stating you’re about to raise your prices. Remember, you don’t have to justify why you are raising your prices if you are clear about what the new prices are.
If they stay, you get paid more. If they leave, problem solved. Either way, you win.
Stress will sabotage your business
If you’re constantly dealing with angry clients and putting out fires, you are not going to be in a very good mental space to take activities that benefit your business in the long run. The accumulated stress from having frequent unpleasant business interactions has serious physical and mental consequences.
Think about this – if you’re spending 3/9 hours dealing with problematic clients, that’s a third of your day spent doing things that don’t help your business. That’s a third of your day that you could have spent acquiring new clients or improving your products and services.
When you’re starting out, you might have to take on the odd rough client because you need the money. That’s alright. Just make sure that you’re not holding onto dead weight once your business has reached a certain threshold of profitability.
It may be tough for you to believe this right now, but there are plenty of clients out there that will value your services a lot more and pay you happily for them. You just have to cast your net wider.
One of the best ways to make dealing with clients easy is to automate tasks that are repetitive. As small business owners ourselves, we were acutely aware of all the time-consuming activities that were related to dealing with clients and prospects – understanding their requirements, creating proposals, following-up regarding said proposals.
Believe us, we’ve been right where you are now. So, we decided to create a system that would make the client management process almost entirely automated. Thus, Dubsado was born. It is an all-in-one client management solution that will free up your time to do bigger, better things.